The Best Ski and Snowboard Destinations for 2022
Whether you’re a fan of the double black diamond slopes or a cruiser of the greens, the 2022-2023 ski season is predicted to deliver plenty of powder. Enough to please even the pickiest winter sports fan. And it’s all due to a climate phenomenon known as La Niña.
According to the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory at NOAA, this oceanic and atmospheric weather pattern is characterized by colder than average temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific. It cycles in and out every two to seven years with its counterpart, El Niño, which has the opposite effect of warmer than average sea-surface temperatures. This year, NOAA is predicting a rare “Triple Dip La Niña,” meaning three years in a row. This has only occurred twice since 1950!
Science aside, what’s this all really mean to skiers and riders? We can expect massive amounts of snowfall across many of our favorite slopes in the Northern Hemisphere this winter. So much snow, in fact, that some ski areas have already opened their mountains early. To help you maximize the season, here are five of the best ski and snowboard destinations where you can enjoy peak powder and world-class terrain, no matter your skill level.
It’s impossible to compile a list of the best ski towns without including Vail, year after year. As the largest ski resort in Colorado (an enormous 5,289 acres of ski terrain), there’s something here for every type of ski and snowboarding enthusiast.
Beginner and intermediate skiers will enjoy the undulating terrain and carefully groomed runs. Meanwhile, experts are consistently spoiled on the resort’s seven back bowls: Sun Down, Sun Up, Tea Cup, China, Siberia, Inner Mongolia, and Outer Mongolia. In fact, the back bowls alone encompass over 3,000 acres of the terrain—more than many ski resorts have in total.
Even non-skiers will find plenty to do on this magnificent mountain. Off the slopes, there are dozens of high-end resorts, spas, restaurants and shops that fill the Vail Village and Lionshead centers. And with close proximity to both Denver (2 hours by car) and Vail Eagle airports (35 minutes), getting in and out of this pristine ski town is cinch, so you can return again and again.
How to Hit the Slopes: Vail is available for unlimited runs on the full Epic Pass. Passholders receive preference, but day passes and other options may be available.
Even if you’ve never been to this picture-perfect winter sports area in the Swiss Alps, it’s easy to pick Zermatt out of a lineup. That’s thanks to its prime location beneath the iconic Matterhorn peak. Soaring to 14,692 feet, that stunning mountain is visible from just about any vantage point here. And Zermatt itself enjoys a similarly lofty existence—in fact, it is the highest ski resort in the Alps.
While the region is teeming with top-notch ski and snowboarding resorts at every turn, Zermatt offers something special. With lift access to the Matterhorn Glacier, at around 12,740 feet in altitude, you can actually ski year-round here.
Beyond the slopes, the town center is an alpine wonderland. Its main street, the Bahnhofstrasse, is lined with charming shops and restaurants serving up mulled wine, Swiss chocolates and fine cuisine that’s sure to please every traveler in your ski group.
How to Hit the Slopes: Zermatt Matterhorn is available on the Ikon Pass.
Park City, Canyons and Deer Valley, Utah
As part of Vail Resorts, Park City and nearby Canyons merged in 2015. Together, they boast over 7,300 acres of prime ski terrain. While skiing both locations in a day is technically possible, the two resorts still operate their own individual base areas and lifts. So it’s advisable to pick one mountain to focus on each day.
For the most challenging terrain, many snowboarders opt for Canyons due to its collection of steep runs and gritty topography. There, you’ll find narrow fall-line trails, sheer grades, and tons of moguls. In fact, over half of the runs at Canyons are rated black.
On the other hand, Park City Resort has a little something for everyone, including the non-skiers in your group. That’s all thanks to its base location right in the heart of colorful Park City.
Rounding out the options in this powder paradise, the luxe Deer Valley is located just under 2 miles away. In a winter wonderland all its own, it has some of the top-rated skiing in North America. It’s also widely known for its impeccable grooming, white-glove service, and a daily limit of skiers to keep the trails safe and uncrowded. No wonder it’s a consistent favorite among skiers of all levels (but note: there’s no snowboarding here).
How to Hit the Slopes: Park City and Canyons are available on the Epic Pass. New for this season, Deer Valley is available on the Ikon Base Plus Pass.
Whistler Blackcomb, Canada
As a newer member of the Vail Resorts collection, Whistler Blackcomb is not only the best ski resort in Canada. It’s also one of the best places to plan a ski vacation anywhere in the world. In fact, it’s the largest winter sports complex in all of North America with an astounding 8,170 acres of terrain.
With 37 lifts that feed over 200 runs across 3 glaciers, Whistler Blackcomb also offers a wide variety of trails and bowls. And with five terrain parks spread across nearly 100 acres of fresh powder, this mega resort is a consistent favorite among freestyle skiers and riders.
Don’t let its Canadian address fool you: Whistler Blackcomb is surprisingly easy to access from the West Coast. Just a 90-minute drive from Vancouver, or a 4-and-a-half-hour drive from Seattle, West Coasters could be shredding some of the best powder in the world in no time.
How to Hit the Slopes: Whistler Blackcomb is available on the Epic Pass.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Putting aside that rare “Triple Dip La Niña” we’re all eagerly awaiting this season, this is one destination that delivers some of the best snow conditions, year after year. So it’s no surprise that Jackson Hole, Wyoming is considered among the best ski resorts in the world.
Jackson Hole is home to three incredible ski resorts. There’s the more beginner-friendly and easily accessible Snow King Mountain, which climbs straight out of Jackson’s town center. There’s also Grand Targhee Resort, located a bit farther out of town along the Tetons’ western slope. It’s known for its sweeping views and deep powder.
And then there’s Jackson Hole Mountain Resort—arguably the premier destination for anyone with the need for speed. That’s because Jackson Hole Mountain Resort serves up 4,139 vertical feet of sheer slopes, guaranteed to give even seasoned skiers and riders a pulse-pounding thrill ride. Even better, it typically gets around 360 inches of snowfall each year. That’s 30 feet of pure pow that’s sure to please intermediate and expert skiers and snowboarders.
How to Hit the Slopes: Jackson Hole resorts offer various ways to purchase, but most options are available via the Ikon and Mountain Collective pass programs.
Ready to Go for the Snow?
With so much snow in the forecast for this season, it’s tough deciding where to go. But one thing is certain: Even in the winter months, consistent sun protection is key. While most of your body is likely to be covered, you can avoid that awkward “goggle tan” by applying your favorite sport or face sunscreen to any exposed areas. And don’t forget to pack a spare lip balm in your parka to counter that high-altitude, dry winter air. A little preparation will help keep you protected on the slopes, so you can enjoy all the fresh powder days year after year.